Palestine Update 515
The Imperative of an international protection force for Palestinians
International law is “a body of rules established by custom or treaty and recognized by nations as binding in their relations with one another” – a major aim is preventing war or at least regulating its conduct. In response to the horrendous killing and abuses of civilians in WWII, the 4th Geneva Convention (July 1949) addressed humanitarian protections for civilians in war zones. Since 1949 three additional Protocols have been added to the Geneva Conventions, but the US and Israel are only parties to the third. Also, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the UN General Assembly as Resolution 217 in December 1948. In 1993, the United Nations Security Council concluded that the Geneva Conventions had passed into the body of customary international law, thus making them binding also on non-signatories to the Conventions during armed conflicts.
Israel has proven since 1948 that it is a country that is there to grab Palestinian land and wage or prompt war on any nation that it perceives as a threat. Peace does not belong in its lectionary. It has been a source of instability in the Middle East. Armed to its teeth, it is a major exporter of armaments, military hardware and, in more recent times, sophisticated spyware. This is why activists from the global community who seek justice in the region, notably for liberation from the colonial-racist clutches of Israel want to see measures that augment mere resolutions at the level of the United Nations.
Despite the Geneva Conventions and UN Security Council Resolutions, the Israeli government has the dubious record of patently ignoring international law in dealing with Palestinian people. Under military occupation and colonization of Palestinian territories, Palestinians experience egregious assaults on their lives every single day. Israel has converted the abnormal into the new normal for its political standards. Extra-judicial killings, collective punishment (curfews and home and infrastructure demolitions), night-time home invasions, arrests of children, torture and detention without trial are not happenstance. They are part of a deliberately constructed policy. Palestinians must also cope with irrational travel restrictions and checkpoints cut people off from their livelihoods, medical care, their friends and relatives. Gaza confronts a land, air and sea blockade. When women and children approach the border fence to exercise their legal right to return to their original homes they are shot and often killed by Israeli snipers. Settlements and settlers are built into Israel’s long-term occupation strategy. Settlements are actually a tactic to eliminate the possibility of a contiguous Palestinian state.
In context of the above stated facts, it is increasingly seen that the UN should now seek to create an international multinational force that will monitor Israel’s criminal and unlawful actions both as a deterrent and way of hastening a finish to the occupation. This is one concrete action around which civil society, peace and justice movements, human rights activists can rally around and lobby for.
West Bank Needs Armed UN Peacekeeping Force
There is clearly no interest in Israel for a negotiated peace with the Palestinians. In the absence of a desire for peace by the Israeli occupiers and a rejection of the globally accepted two-state solution, a period of chaos and the absence of any semblance of tranquility is bound to take place. Israeli Jewish settlers living illegally in the Palestinian territories are armed to the teeth and, as Israeli human rights organizations have documented, are supported by the Israeli army.
Palestinians have always claimed that settlements and settlers are part of Israel’s long-term occupation strategy. Settlements are built in strategic locations to cut off a contiguous Palestinian state and make the Israeli army’s work easier. Israel encourages its citizens to live in troubled areas. With the absence and inability of any serious Israeli effort to stem the illegal Jewish settlers’ violence and with the potential of a negotiated solution being vetoed by the new “three no’s” of Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett – no talks with the Palestinians, no meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and no to a two-state solution – the only remaining solution is an armed peacekeeping force. What is needed is a neutral armed force that will ensure that the Jewish settlers stop their violence; their burning and destroying of Palestinian farms; and their almost nightly raids on unarmed Palestinian homes. United Nations-sponsored blue helmets are needed now more than ever in the occupied territories. In addition to putting an end to the illegal Jewish violence and Palestinian resistance to the illegal settlers, what is needed now is a neutral force that can keep things quiet until there is a change in Israel that will bring about a government that understands the need for a negotiated end to their occupation.
The current Israeli government led by right-wing zealots might reject such an idea on ridiculous claims that all of historic Palestine is their God-given territory. That could be explained in some radical Jewish circles but doesn’t muster credibility anywhere else. No matter what the Israelis, or the Palestinians, for that matter, claim, the facts are clear: Palestinians are not going anywhere and the sooner they are protected by an armed neutral force, the better for all concerned and the faster we will be able to bring sanity and proportional justice to this conflict.
Israeli Forces attack protests against Settler Violence
Israeli forces attacked, several non-violent demonstrations in various cities across the occupied West Bank, shooting a teen with rubber-coated steel round and causing others to suffocate on tear gas. In the northern occupied West Bank, in Kufur Qaddoum village, east of Qalqilia, Israeli forces shot a 16-year-old in the chest with a rubber-coated steel bullet, causing a moderate injury. The condition of the minor was unknown at the time of this report.Also in the northern West Bank, soldiers opened fire with tear gas and rubber-coated steel rounds at Palestinian youths who gathered on the Nablus-Qalqilia street, east of Qalqilia, in northern West Bank. Activists organized the protest to express their rejection of the escalating settler violence particularly in Burqa village, northwest of Nablus in the northern West Bank.
In the central West Bank, at the entrance to the Al-Jalazoun refugee camp, north of Ramallah, hundreds of local youths confronted the army who attempted to suppress the rally in rejection of the escalating settler crimes. The military fired rubber-coated steel rounds, tear gas canisters, and sound bombs at the crowd. Meanwhile, in the village of Al-Mughayyir, northeast of Ramallah, Israeli soldiers fired tear gas and stun grenades at local youths who gathered to resist the military incursion, no injuries were reported. Dozens of illegal Israeli colonists stormed the northern entrance of Sinjil town, north of Ramallah under the full protection of the occupation army, blocking the road. In the northern occupied West Bank, in Kufur Qaddoum village, east of Qalqilia, Israeli forces shot a 16-year-old in the chest with a rubber-coated steel bullet, causing a moderate injury.
Also in the northern West Bank, soldiers opened fire with tear gas and rubber-coated steel rounds at Palestinian youths who gathered on the Nablus-Qalqilia street, east of Qalqilia, in northern West Bank. In the central West Bank, at the entrance to the Al-Jalazoun refugee camp, north of Ramallah, hundreds of local youths confronted the army who attempted to suppress the rally in rejection of the escalating settler crimes. The military fired rubber-coated steel rounds, tear gas canisters, and sound bombs at the crowd. In the village of Al-Mughayyir, Israeli soldiers fired tear gas and stun grenades at local youths who gathered to resist the military incursion. Additionally, the army suppressed protests in the Sahal al-Baqai’a area in the northern Jordan Valley, firing tear gas and stun grenades, no injuries were reported. Furthermore, dozens of illegal Israeli colonists stormed the northern entrance of Sinjil town, north of Ramallah under the full protection of the occupation army, blocking the road.
NGOs urge UN shield to Palestinians from Israeli Settlers’ attacks
In a statement, the network, which includes 145 organizations, demanded that the UN take urgent measures to provide international protection for Palestinians amid escalated settler attacks, especially in the Northern part of the occupied West Bank, presstv reported. The groups described the escalated settler violence as part of Israeli attempts to “forcibly deport” the Palestinians, noting that the attacks amount to “war crimes”. The attacks come as part of “an open and systematic war”, and “are not individual” or separate from Israel’s policy of ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in the occupied territories, the statement said. The Palestinian NGOs Network also urged the UN to pressure Israel to stop its practices against the Palestinians which, they said, amount to “war crimes”. It also called for taking all necessary steps to support Palestinians’ right to remain on their land and to stop all Israeli measures aimed to evacuate the territory of its indigenous people.
The statement also stressed the significance of activating the popular protection and security committees and supplying them with necessary needs to confront “extremism and racism”. The network also called for the formation of a broad international front to end the Israeli occupation and for the expansion of international campaigns of solidarity with the Palestinian people and their legitimate rights. It also called for prosecuting the occupying regime and holding it accountable for the atrocities it has committed against the Palestinian people. Israeli settlers routinely engage in acts of violence and vandalism against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank. Palestinians are outraged by the sharp rise in settler attacks on their villages, which are backed by the Israeli military.
Israeli rights group B’Tselem has documented hundreds of such settler attacks this year alone.Israeli authorities rarely prosecute the Israeli settler assaults on Palestinians and their property. Hence, the vast majority of the files are closed due to deliberate police failure to investigate properly. The Palestinian resistance movement Hamas warned that the Israeli military and settlers would pay the price for the increasing settler violence, after an Israeli settler ran over a 63-year-old woman near the town of Sinjil, Northeast of the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah.
A full report